Shelby Elsbree is exceptionally talented and highly accomplished ballet dancer. She is in conversation with Namita Nayyar, President Women Fitness.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: We all wish to know your professional dance journey from your childhood to reaching ‘The Boston Ballet Corp’ ?
Ms. Shelby Elsbree: I began dancing at the age of nine at the suggestion of a family friend, whose daughter owned a ballet school in town. I had fallen out of love with gymnastics and Tae Kwon Do, and it seemed intriguing enough. I’ll never forget walking into my first ballet class, feeling so foreign and excited at the same time. I never looked back.
At 13, I was offered a training opportunity at the School of American Ballet, a year-round program in Manhattan that schools students from all over the world in the Balanchine style of dance. After five years at SAB, I began my career with the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen, Denmark. I spent four years in Copenhagen, adapting well to the inviting Danish culture and challenging my technique with different styles of ballet repertoire. When I was 22, I decided to pursue my professional career as a dancer back in the states, accepting a contract from the Boston Ballet in the Spring of 2013.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You reached the pinnacle of success by being a professional leading ballet dancer when you performed Blue Girl in Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, The Pupil in Flemming Flindt’s The Lesson, and the title character in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Golden Cockerel. What factors do you consider were responsible that made you achieve that?
Ms. Shelby Elsbree: I believe there are several factors that contribute to success in life, be that in personal or professional endeavors. I am humbled and thankful to say I have the support of a very large and loving family, that gave me the strength to move away at a young age to pursue my dreams. My faith has been a constant source of courage and confidence throughout, and needless to say, my work ethic. Both of my parents are very hard workers and love what they do.
They’ve set an unyielding example for my siblings and I of what discipline, sacrifice, passion, and hard work will do for you in the journey of life. Timing is also a precarious participant in the lives and careers of performing artists. Often times, your levels of exposure, your “big chances” will occur due to an injury, sickness, pregnancy, etc…of another dancer, and in turn, you might be offered the “boost” you need to stand out. This being said, it is what you choose to do with these opportunities that makes the difference of long-standing success versus those that are short-lived.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: What exercises comprise your fitness regime or workout routine you shall like to share?
Ms. Shelby Elsbree: I am a firm believer in cross training as a dancer. Many of my colleagues participate in religious physical therapy, pilates, yoga or gyrotonics routines throughout the season. I have my various abdominal/back strengthening exercises that I like to do to warm up before class or a show… I try to do the elliptical a few times a week to keep up my cardio endurance. Perhaps my favorite fitness regime other than the daily class we take to warm up for our rehearsals is swimming. Swimming is the only anti-gravity/stress/impact exercises that strengthens every muscle in the body. It’s methodical and refreshing. I’ve been swimming laps since I was about 16 years old, and to this day, is my favorite way to exercise.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Do you take some special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit?
Ms. Shelby Elsbree: I have been blessed to inherit my father’s raging metabolism, so that being said, I follow no strict menu other than what I feel my body craves and needs. My father is a Doctor, and has always encouraged me to nourish my body in a way that someone would want to fuel their very expensive sports car – “They wouldn’t put the cheap gas in it would they?” he asks… “.
Your body is your vehicle as a dancer. You should always give it the premium “fuel” it deserves.” I’m a visual person and this little token has always stuck with me. I do try to eat a lot of lean protein, fruits and vegetables these are all good for muscle recovery. And dairy is my most sacred (non)guilty pleasure. Yogurt, cheese and Ice Cream are daily sources of happiness 🙂
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.